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411. The Happy Prince; movie review

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Title : 411. The Happy Prince; movie review
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Cert 15
103 mins
BBFC advice: Contains very strong language, strong nudity, drugs misuse

When I watched A Star Is Born recently, I marvelled at how Bradley Cooper could be so good in the lead role at the same time as directing the movie.
That sentiment is multiplied several times over for Rupert Everett's directorial debut with The Happy Prince.
Why? Because I can't recall a single scene in which Everett is not centre stage.
Indeed, his portrayal of Oscar Wilde requires every nuance of his acting talent and is arguably the best performance of his career.
Everett is scarcely recognisable as Wilde whom he portrays as an intoxicating combination of overbearing and vulnerable.
In a background which recreates both the late 19th-century decadence and poverty, he replays Wilde's great successes and his slide from grace after being arrested in public toilets.
He is complemented by the excellent Colin Morgan as the love of Wilde's life, Alfred Bosie Douglas, who is blamed for enticing him away from married convention.
Emily Watson is Wilde's long-suffering wife while Colin Firth plays his great friend Reggie Turner and Edwin Thomas portrays Robbie Ross who is in a battle with Bosie for his affections.
On the plus side, the performances in The Happy Prince are all of high quality and I learned much about Wilde's demise.
However, it treads the same path many times during the course of its 103 minutes.
Thus, there is much screeching over Wilde's bad behaviour and between those vying for his love and the subject is also seen to be the master of his own downfall - again and again.
Before the end credits, context is offered to Wilde's story and the subsequent successful fight for gay rights in the UK.
However, if it was intended that there should be sympathy for Wilde, I would have expected more evidence to have been seen of his writing talent and dazzling plays than his drug and alcohol-fuelled craziness.

Reasons to watch: Everett is superb
Reasons to avoid: Too much screeching and shouting

Laughs: Two
Jumps: None
Vomit: Yes
Nudity: Yes
Overall rating: 7.5/10

Director quote - Rupert Everett: "I think at a certain point it becomes easier to try and look ugly and elephantine than it does to look good-looking. There’s something quite releasing about not having to think, Oh, how are my angles? Which pays diminishing returns the older you get anyway."

The big question - How would Oscar Wilde have been perceived in the modern world?

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